SNOQUALMIE PASS – Pop Quiz: Where is the visitor center at Snoqualmie Pass? If you’ve guessed the Dru Bru brewery and taproom, you won’t be the first.
“Dru Bruga was always called: Is it snowing now? Is this road open now? ” said Zach Olson, a former employee of Drew Brown. “People are always looking for a visitor center here.”
There is an official visitor center: the U.S. Forest Service has a two-story building with white paneling and a blue sloping roof. But flick and you will miss the simple structure on Highway 906, which is the main road serving the summit in Snoqualmie. In addition, the building has been closed to the public since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
All of the changes will take place in early January, when Seattle-based Evolution Projects Firehouse, a real estate development division of the evolution retail chain, opens. In front of the former visitor center, the company, founded by Washington University graduate Bryce Phillips, spent $ 2.5 million to turn a century-old asbestos-covered fire station into a new “front porch”. a place where there is a lot of human trafficking.
As you enter the Firehouse, which opened its doors at the beginning of the new year, you will be greeted by a spruce house that welcomes guests under 100-year-old wooden beams for the national forest in the Baker-Snoqualmi Mountains. On the left, a 40-foot black-and-white painting by North Bend photographer Scott Rinkenberg captures the satellite post of Evo, a popular outdoor hardware store in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. To your right is the Laconia Market, which serves as the pass’s new cafe and general store. The upstairs Pass Life Workspace offers a modern coworking space with mountain views, showers and a yoga room. (Olson, formerly Drew Brudan, is now the new general manager of the coworking space.)
Travelers heading east to Snoqualmi Pass have an idea that the building will serve as a “beacon for people trying to get out” because of the plum on the left immediately after exiting Interstate 90’s 52nd exit. . The Snoqualmie Pass will crack, especially during the winter holidays, and Phillips hopes that placing a number of amenities under one roof will help guide visitors regardless of their holiday plan throughout the day.
“If you come on a weekend, everyone is trying to get out: on a snowy beach, on a ski slope, or on a ski trip,” Philips said as he toured the unfinished area in October. “It’s not a place for a certain group of people; It’s a place that resonates with all visitors to the pass. ”
Visitors with less experience can request information from the Forest Service or book a snowshoe trip across the Commonwealth Basin without crossing Highway 906. travel directly from the building, ”Marty Shramm said of the Baker-Snoqualmi National Forest’s Snoqualmi Ranger District.
A more experienced crowd can visit the Northwest Avalanche Center to scan the daily bulletin and pick up their newly tuned skis from the evo satellite store.
“How can we meet our customers where they play?” – says Tommy Trause, head of the evo project on hospitality, community marketing and ecosystem development, explaining the new retail strategy. Expect full-rent skis, snowboards, kits, snow boots, mountain bikes and gravel motorcycles, but much less retail stock than the Fremont flagship (but replace lost gloves or a tail wagon). there are a lot of staples like replacing the lugs) (ski goggles). However, Phillips expects many customers, especially those on Eastside, to shop online from Evo’s new Firehouse address and pick it up from the store, a delivery method that currently accounts for 40% of all online sales at Evo.
Before or after playing outside, the Laconia Market Snoqualmie Pass will be a nice addition to your short list of food and drinks. The cafe and general store, run by three full-time residents, is named after a former railroad depot that stopped outside for firefighters. From breakfast burritos to coriander lunch dishes and gourmet sandwiches, to northwestern beer and wine, the cafe is open all day. On the weekends, visitors will find cooked meals and pre-selected ingredients with recipes that will help them prepare quick and easy meal plans for the night. The pass’s 300 full-time residents, which will increase to 1,000 in the winter, now have the option to buy other food instead of walking 20-30 miles east or west to Kle Elum or North Bend, respectively will be.
“We want our store to be unique to Narnia,” said co-author Kirsten Van Swearingen, whose grandfather was Adi Henzsh Alpental’s first ski instructor. He described the market as a cross between Mazama Store, Cone & Steiner and mini-PCC. Business partner Katie Marconi’s previous experience in baking and managing a Fiori cafe at Macrina also gives serious confidence in coffee and confectionery offers.
The Firehouse will no doubt create a new shooting center on Snoqualmie Pass this winter, but it almost missed the destructive ball. The previous tenant’s lease included a breach clause because it was in very poor condition. evolutionary projects saved the building $ 50,000 when they saw a flexible recycling option similar to the company’s renovation of the Colstrand building in Ballard or Evo’s home in Fremont.
“It’s the only real, historic building in 906,” Phillips said. “We want to reveal its history, spirit and character so that it can serve as a catalyst for people to come together and come out.”